How To Plant Up A Trough With Alpine Plants

How To Plant Up A Trough With Alpine Plants

An alpine trough is a little jewel garden and easy to maintain

You will need:

  • shallow trough or pot
  • loam-based compost mixed 50/50 with fine horticultural grit
  • alpine plants
  • coarse horticultural grit for mulching
  • pieces of broken pot
  • trowel

Make sure there are sufficient drainage holes in the container and cover each one with a piece of broken pot to ensure the hole does not block with silt.


Fill the container to within 2.5cm (1”) of the top with the loam/grit mixture. Use John Innes No 2 compost as once mixed with the grit will contain just the right amount of nutrients.

Plant the alpines in the desired position; there are hundreds of plants to choose from so just remember to include different heights, leaf colour and texture.

You can decorate the pot with pieces of stone to match the pot or pieces of broken terracotta pot then put a layer of the grit over the top of the compost. This prevents water sitting around the neck of the plant which would result in it rotting and prevents rain splashing up grains of compost onto the plants.

Water the trough and make sure it is kept damp over the summer months; the mulch of grit will help reduce moisture loss from the surface of the compost.

Alpines don’t need feeding as excess food results in the plants becoming too lush and leggy which detracts from their neat compact attraction.

The plants we have used are:

  • Ajuga 'Metallica Crispa'
  • Ajuga 'Silver Queen'
  • Cerastium tomentosum
  • Chaenorhinum 'Blue Dream'
  • Cotula hispida
  • Lewisia ' Elise'
  • Penstemon 'Pinacolada White'
  • Sedum 'Coral Carpet'


Profile Image Angela Slater

Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.